Sheffield United: Andy Taylor interview

Upon signing for Sheffield United 18 months ago, Andy Taylor naturally hoped he would be a permanent fixture in the Blades side.

Regular football hasn't quite materialised but the defender has vowed to keep slogging away – even if it ruins his ideal Christmas.

The former Blackburn Rovers youth product left his second club Tranmere Rovers for the Blades back in July 2009 and began as a regular starter in Kevin Blackwell's side.

However, a year-and-a-half on it has been an in and out affair for the Lancastrian who has 26 league starts to his name with the Bramall Laners but only four of those have come this term.

Taylor readily admits he has not received the first team football he wanted, but he is not one to sulk and has been buoyed by the recent appearances against Bristol City and Millwall which indicate he is getting back in new manager Gary Speed's plans.

And, either way, the 24-year-old has promised to work tirelessly to keep impressing his gaffer – even if that means training on Christmas Day when festive celebrations in hometown Blackburn are the alternative.

Taylor, speaking very much of a team ethos and also vowing to win back a starting place, told Yorkshire Sport: "I've not been injured but the new manager has come in and he's had his own ideas.

"I've been sort of out of favour for a few months but as a professional it happens and you've got to take it on the chin and just work hard in training.

"I've played a few reserve games and worked hard in them and that's all you can do.

"You just have to hope for your chance and when it comes you've got to take it.

"I've not had many opportunities to play this year and obviously the new manager has come in and he's got his own ideas and stuff.

"We are trying to sort of change the way we are playing, we are trying to play more football, and it does take time when a new manager comes

in.

"It's hard work for the players and it takes time for everyone to get used to the systems and things and how we are going to play.

"It's been a slow start for us, but we just need to stick together because we believe in what we're doing.

"Eventually we believe we will turn the corner and go on a long unbeaten run hopefully."

If given the nod by his manager, Taylor will be doing his damnedest to ignite that run and get his club motoring up the Championship table.

The 5ft 11in star says he feels perfectly at home off the field since his move to the Steel City and now only wants success on the pitch as well.

"I'm very settled at the club now," said Taylor.

"It's a brilliant club, the lads are brilliant, the staff are brilliant and it's a really good set up and everything. It's a brilliant club to be at.

"Obviously, when you are not playing regularly you are frustrated but that's just part of football and I'm definitely well settled here,

"Hopefully, I can get into the team again, keep my place again and hopefully start hitting top form which I haven't really hit since I've joined.

"I've been stop-start since the first sort of 10-12 games last year, and I've not really hit the form I know I can, or reached the level that I should be at."

Of his plans for Christmas he added: "We're not sort of sure what we're doing on Christmas Day, whether we're training and what time and stuff, but that's part and parcel of being a footballer.

"Your Christmas Day is always going to be a bit sort of last minute and disjointed but I'm from Blackburn and I'd love to be able to go back and spend Christmas with my family.

"But whether I do that or not will depend on what the schedule is and stuff like that. You get used to it!"

Taylor is clearly a fighter and not the type to moan, though the Blackburn-born ace admits even he has taken issue with the recent arctic weather conditions.

"Apparently Sheffield has been one of the worst places hit in the country and it's made life very difficult for us to be fair," he said.

"It's been difficult just getting into work and then once you get into work it's just all covered in snow.

"We've had one day of indoor training and then we've been able to use Bramall Lane a couple of days as well as we've got the under soil heating.

"It's just been a very stop-start couple of weeks really. There's nothing much you can do. It's just frustrating and one of those things.

"I remember it being pretty bad last year and I remember we had a couple of games cancelled and training cancelled but that was more January time off the top of my head.

"This is definitely the earliest I've seen it and I'm just hoping it won't carry on until January.

"Hopefully, we'll get a bit of warm weather, it will melt and we can crack on."

Crack on and move quickly up the table is Taylor's idea, the player stressing that United are not yet out of the promotion race and insisting the squad will stay upbeat until the end of the term.

"Obviously the table doesn't lie and if you look at it we're in a bit

of a scrap," he conceded. "But we all believe in what we're doing at the club. We're doing the right things and sooner or later it will turn.

"We've not had a great deal of luck, I think we've given away about eight penalties – only half of which probably were penalties.

"We believe in what we are doing and even though, looking at the table, we're sat near the bottom, we believe we will turn a corner sooner rather than later and shoot up the table.

"It's such a tight league and all it needs is a run of a decent four or five games and you can find yourself well back in there.

"We're staying positive."

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HEAD DOWN: Andy Taylor is ready to fight for a shirt and to revive the Blades' promotion hopes

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